Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Damard Lacquer Co

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Damard Lacquer Company, manufacturer of lacquer, of Birmingham

James Swinburne, a consultant engineer, became interested in the development of new electrical insulation materials at the beginning of the 20th century.

1904 He obtained the British rights to Adolf Luft's patent for a phenolformaldehyde resin.

1904 To develop this product he formed the Fireproof Celluloid Syndicate.

Encountering difficulties with the manufacture of moulded articles, Swinburne concentrated on the development of synthetic lacquers; production was moved from London to Birmingham.

1910 The Syndicate was wound up.

1910 The Damard Lacquer Company was formed with manufacturing premises in Birmingham.

1912 Demand for lacquer in America was such that another factory was set up in Long Island, New York but later closed due to threatened patent litigation by Leo Hendrik Baekeland (see Bakelite).

WWI Baekeland agreed that the Damard Lacquer Co. could make use of his patents throughout the war and that a business agreement could be agreed afterwards.

During the war considerable quantities of lacquer were produced for laminated sheet for electrical insulations as well as resins for brake linings.

1916 Swinburne obtained the British rights to the important patents of Baekeland

1920 the company moved to larger premises in Birmingham.

1922 the Bakelite Co. in the USA merged with two rivals, the Condensite Co. and Redmanol Chemical Products Co.

1927 The British subsidiaries of these two firms, Mouldensite and Redmanol, were part of an Agreement concluded with Baekeland in America, to form a new company, Bakelite, with Swinburne as its first chairman, to exploit Baekeland's phenol formaldehyde patents in England.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Archives of the British chemical industry, 1750-1914: a handlist. By Peter J. T. Morris and Colin A. Russell. Edited by John Graham Smith. 1988